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Mud Duck put down the fishing pole for the season and grabbed the truck and bagged his first moose of the year...

TUESDAY EDITION: I received my replacement Shark Openspot2 yesterday from Estonia, great customer service, it was here in one week. I had it hooked up and making contacts in fifteen minutes and I don't know shit about setting up digital stuff so it must be easy! I talked to a dozen states and a few hams in England walking around the house with my Yaesu Fusion digital walkie, I guess it is novel and kind of fun. I need to buy a cheap DRM walkie next and try that next. If I could hit any connected digital repeaters I would not need a hot spot interface but I can't hit any from my location.....

HamRadioNow: Live from Last Man Standing

Gary KN4AQ, Cyndi KD4ACW, and David W0DHG talk about their trip to Los Angeles and their visit to the stage of popular TV show Last Man Standing which stars Tim Allen KK6OTD as radio amateur Mike Baxter KA0XTT

Watch HRN405: Live from Last Man Standing

Eastern Massachusetts SEC Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Receives Blue Hills Observatory Outstanding Service Award....well deserved...

The Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center has awarded Eastern Massachusetts ARES SKYWARN Coordinator and Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, with its Outstanding Service Award. Macedo received the award on November 9 during a Blue Hills Observatory fundraising event. Doing the honors were meteorologist and Weather Channel personality Jim Cantore and former Weather Channel meteorologist Mish Michaels. The honor was especially meaningful for Macedo as it coincided with his birthday.

“It’s both rewarding and humbling to receive [the award] in the presence of some of the most respected people in the meteorology profession,” Macedo said. “It wouldn’t be possible without the support of hundreds to thousands of SKYWARN spotters and Amateur Radio operators who support the program and give their reports during times of severe weather.”

SPACE JUNK: Es’hail-2 Geostationary Satellite Launch Said to be Imminent

According to AMSAT-Germany (AMSAT-DL), Es’hail-2, the world’s first geostationary satellite carrying Amateur Radio transponders, will go into space from Cape Canaveral in a few days. Space news outlet Spaceflight Now says that the SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher is set to launch on Thursday, November 15, between 2049 and 2229 UTC. Positioned at 25.5° E, the satellite will carry an Amateur Radio S-band and X-band payload capable of linking radio amateurs from Brazil to Thailand; it’s unlikely that Es’hail-2 will be accessible from North America, at least not with conventional Amateur Radio satellite gear.

The recent subject of an AMSAT-UK Colloquium presentation, Es’hail-2 will carry two Phase 4 (P4-A) non-inverting Amateur Radio transponders operating in a 2.4 GHz up/10.45 GHz down configuration. This offers a 250 kHz bandwidth linear transponder intended for conventional analog operations, plus an 8 MHz bandwidth transponder for experimental digital modulation schemes and DVB amateur television.

The Qatar Amateur Radio Society and Qatar Satellite Company are cooperating on the Amateur Radio project, and AMSAT-DL is providing technical support. Commercial payloads on Es’hail 2 include 24 Ku-band and 11 Ka-band transponders to provide direct broadcasting services throughout the Middle East and North Africa, as well as government communication services.

AMSAT-DL has explained that the launcher will not go directly into geostationary orbit. Several orbital maneuvers are necessary before Es’hail-2 enters its commissioning phase, which may take several months. AMSAT-DL has said that, while it invites reception reports, no one should attempt to transmit into Es’hail-2 until after it’s formally released for use.

If US hams want to see if they would be in range of Es’hail-2, they can try the Dishpointer web page. While the satellite is not in the drop-down menu, Eutelsat 25B is close to the position that Es’hail-2 will occupy. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service; AMSAT-DL

VETERAN'S DAY MONDAY: Thanks a vet for their service today and kick a liberal in the ass just because you can....BC and the Patriots sucked yesterday.....sad state of affairs for veterans....At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, bugle calls ended the ‘war to end all wars.’ After four years of carnage, you could hear the ticking of a watch......Guy punches bear in the nose and escapes, pretty sure he is one lucky SOB.....

FOR SALE: I bought two Kenwood V71 vhf-uhf radio's and only need one....new in box, if you are interested for $275 shipped, let me know....

Amateur Radio Roundtable

This week Riley Hollingsworth, retired Special Counsel to the FCC discusses the new ARRL program that replaces the Official Observer.

Emmett Hohensee III will discuss antennas and getting ready for Winter.

Tom will give an update on his Beta testing of the new RigPi Station Server.

This week we introduce Josh Nass KI6NAZ who has a great ham radio youtube channel. Plus more.

Watch the show on W5KUB.COM every Tues night at 8:00 PM central time. We also simulcast our show on a famous international shortwave station on 5130 Khz. Guests and topics from around the world. If you have a topic or want to join the show, please contact us. (international time will be 0200 UTC Wed)

'Fox-In-A-Box' SD cards now available from AMSAT store

Fox-in-a-Box is a small, easily-deployed Fox satellite telemetry receiver based on a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and a FUNcube Dongle Pro+.

You can read about it in the AMSAT 2018 Symposium Proceedings (digital copies available on the AMSAT store at
or you can find a somewhat less extensive description with parts list and instructions at http://burnsfisher.com/AMSAT/FoxInABox

Get started by simply plugging these 8Gb SD Cards with the Fox-in-a-Box software pre-installed into your Raspberry Pi and booting it.

Just a bit of configuration (your call and grid) required.

The website above also has an SD card image, but buying the SD card with the software pre-installed saves a lot of trouble and any additional proceeds go to Keeping Amateur Radio in Space.

Order yours today at https://www.amsat.org/product/fox-in-a-box-raspberry-pi-sd-card/

Montenegro latest to join 60m

The latest update to the Montenegro National Frequency Plan (p. 37) from the country’s telecomms regulator, EKIP, lists a new band at 5 MHz/60m, namely the WRC-15 Amateur Secondary Allocation of 5351.5 – 5366.5 kHz with 15W EIRP, which has been confirmed by national society, the Montenegro Amateur Radio Pool (MARP).

ARRL Staffrs, State and Local Officials on Hand for Massachusetts ARISS School Contact

ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology alumnus Mariusz Zielinski, KB1MDS, invited ARRL Lifelong Learning Manager Kris Bickell, K1BIC, Lifelong Learning Administrator Ally Riedel, KM3ALF, and ARRL Communications Content Producer Michelle Patnode, W3MVP, to witness an exciting November 2 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with students at Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in Palmer, Massachusetts, where Zielinski teaches. Pathfinder Amateur Radio Club students queued up to ask mostly technical questions of NASA astronaut Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor, KG5TMT.

The Pathfinder ARC said the ARISS project became “a school-wide endeavor, capitalizing on our students’ interests in the trades and STEM subjects, giving them an interdisciplinary opportunity to apply their various skill sets.” Over the 2-year run up to the contact, Pathfinder students fabricated the antenna-aiming and mounting hardware. The club said on its website that it “incorporated many of the technical areas to construct the radio station and prepare for the ARISS contact and challenged our students to learn more about wireless technology and radio science.” One goal of the project was to “provide an educational opportunity for students, teachers and the general public to learn about wireless technology and radio science through Amateur Radio,” the club described.

Palmer Town Councilor Robert Lavoie, Massachusetts Representative Todd Smola, and Massachusetts Senator Anne Gobi were on hand to present a citation of congratulations from the State of Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Wearing an “ARISS 2018” T-shirt designed by students, Zielinski told a WWLP television reporter that the successful contact was even more exciting than the Boston Red Sox recent World Series win.

Further assistance and support was provided by fellow Teachers Institute alumni and Pathfinder instructors Schley Warren, KA1TDL, and Frank Legassey, KC1IYH, as well as from Jack O’Donnell, KC1GZB; Susan Grimaldi, WA1SJG, and Al Grimaldi, KB1XG, of the Mt. Tom Amateur Repeater Association. Legassey, an electronics instructor, and O’Donnell, a physics instructor, earned their Amateur Radio licenses during a January 2018 exam session at the school.

Others pitching in included Gary Thomas, AA1UE, of Wealth Technologies; Ronald Osimo, K1CRR, of the Cheshire County DX Radio Club; ARISS mentor Steve Taylor, W1HQL; Aggie Zielinski, and Anatoliy and Elen Borryssenko of A&E Partnership.

WEEKEND EDITION: Good thing the rain last night was not snow or I would up to my ass this morning....

ARRL Staffers, State and Local Officials on Hand for Massachusetts ARISS School Contact

ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology alumnus Mariusz Zielinski, KB1MDS, invited ARRL Lifelong Learning Manager Kris Bickell, K1BIC, Lifelong Learning Administrator Ally Riedel, KM3ALF, and ARRL Communications Content Producer Michelle Patnode, W3MVP, to witness an exciting November 2 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with students at Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in Palmer, Massachusetts, where Zielinski teaches. Pathfinder Amateur Radio Club students queued up to ask mostly technical questions of NASA astronaut Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor, KG5TMT.

The Pathfinder ARC said the ARISS project became “a school-wide endeavor, capitalizing on our students’ interests in the trades and STEM subjects, giving them an interdisciplinary opportunity to apply their various skill sets.” Over the 2-year run up to the contact, Pathfinder students fabricated the antenna-aiming and mounting hardware. The club said on its website that it “incorporated many of the technical areas to construct the radio station and prepare for the ARISS contact and challenged our students to learn more about wireless technology and radio science.” One goal of the project was to “provide an educational opportunity for students, teachers and the general public to learn about wireless technology and radio science through Amateur Radio,” the club described.

Palmer Town Councilor Robert Lavoie, Massachusetts Representative Todd Smola, and Massachusetts Senator Anne Gobi were on hand to present a citation of congratulations from the State of Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Wearing an “ARISS 2018” T-shirt designed by students, Zielinski told a WWLP television reporter that the successful contact was even more exciting than the Boston Red Sox recent World Series win.

Further assistance and support was provided by fellow Teachers Institute alumni and Pathfinder instructors Schley Warren, KA1TDL, and Frank Legassey, KC1IYH, as well as from Jack O’Donnell, KC1GZB; Susan Grimaldi, WA1SJG, and Al Grimaldi, KB1XG, of the Mt. Tom Amateur Repeater Association. Legassey, an electronics instructor, and O’Donnell, a physics instructor, earned their Amateur Radio licenses during a January 2018 exam session at the school.

Others pitching in included Gary Thomas, AA1UE, of Wealth Technologies; Ronald Osimo, K1CRR, of the Cheshire County DX Radio Club; ARISS mentor Steve Taylor, W1HQL; Aggie Zielinski, and Anatoliy and Elen Borryssenko of A&E Partnership.

AMSAT’s Fox-1Cliff CubeSat Set to Launch on November 19...more space junk

AMSAT is counting down to the launch of the next Fox-1 satellite, Fox-1Cliff. According to Spaceflight Now, the launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base of Spaceflight’s SSO-A SmallSat Express mission, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle, is currently scheduled for November 19 at 1832 UTC.

Fox-1Cliff carries the Fox-1 U/v FM repeater, AMSAT’s L-Band Downshifter, the flight spare of the AO-85 Vanderbilt University Low Energy Proton (LEP) radiation experiment, and the standard Fox-1 Penn State University-Erie MEMS gyroscope experiment. Virginia Tech provided a video graphics array camera that’s similar to the one on AO-92 but which will provide images at a higher 640 × 480 resolution.

More information about the launch and early operations phase will be released prior to launch.

Fox-1Cliff is named in honor of long-time AMSAT member, contributor, and benefactor Cliff Buttschardt, K7RR (SK), who died in 2016. His contributions to AMSAT and other Amateur Satellite programs — including his service as an adviser during the initial development of the CubeSat specification at California Polytechnic State University — earned him the Lifetime Achievement Award from Project OSCAR in 2006.

NASA TV coverage of Cygnus launch to International Space Station

NASA’s commercial partner Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Antares rocket, carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station, at 4:49 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 15. The launch, as well as briefings preceding and following the launch, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website

Loaded with 7,500 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware, this 10th commercial resupply mission for Northrop Grumman will launch from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

About 70 minutes after launch, an automated command will initiate deployment of the spacecraft’s solar arrays. Full deployment will take approximately 30 minutes.

The Cygnus spacecraft, dubbed the SS John Young, will arrive at the space station Sunday, Nov. 18. At about 4:35 a.m., Expedition 57 Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor KG5TMT of NASA will grapple the spacecraft using the station’s robotic arm. She will be backed up by Alexander Gerst KF5ONO of ESA (European Space Agency), who will monitor Cygnus systems during its approach. After capture, ground controllers will command the robotic arm to rotate and install Cygnus on the bottom of the station’s Unity module.

Complete coverage of launch activities is as follows:

Tuesday, Nov. 13:

  • 2 p.m. – What’s on Board science briefing
    • Tara Ruttley, associate chief scientist for Microgravity Research in NASA’s Office of the Chief Scientist
    • Diane Risdon, In-Space Manufacturing Refabricator project lead at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
    • Liz Warren, associate program scientist for the station’s National Lab
    • Allison Porter, flight mission manager at Tethers Unlimited
    • Michelle Lucas, founder and president of Higher Orbits
    • Student researchers with Higher Orbits

Wednesday, Nov. 14:

  • 11 a.m. – Prelaunch news conference
    • Joel Montalbano, International Space Station Program deputy manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center
    • Tara Ruttley
    • Doug Voss, deputy chief of the Range and Mission Management Office at Wallops
    • Frank DeMauro, vice president for Human Space Systems and Logistics at Northrop Grumman
    • Kurt Eberly, Antares vice president at Northrop Grumman

Thursday, Nov. 15:

  • 4:15 a.m. – Launch coverage begins
  • 5:45 a.m. – Cygnus solar array deployment
  • 7 a.m. – Postlaunch news conference
    • Joel Montalbano
    • Frank DeMauro
    • Kurt Eberly

Sunday, Nov. 18

  • 3 a.m. – Grapple of Cygnus with the space station’s robotic arm
  • 6:15 a.m. – Cygnus installation operations

The Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to remain at the space station until Feb. 12, 2019, when it will depart, taking with it several tons of trash, and deploy several CubeSats before its fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2141 for Friday, November 9 2018....weekly rehash of the news


STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Following his fatal fall from a tower at his antenna farm, friends have been remembering Paul Bittner W0AIH. Newsline thought our listeners might want to hear a little more about a ham who, even in his 80s, was unstoppable in his enthusiasm and his devotion to the hobby. Here's Kent Peterson KC0DGY.

KENT: Driving on the interstate freeway just outside Eau Claire, Wisconsin, it’s hard not to miss a collection of ham antennas covering a 20-acre patch of farmland. What IS hard to be missing now, however, is the ham who built that iconic antenna farm - noted contester and retired
Lutheran minister Paul Bittner W0AIH. As Newsline reported last week, Paul suffered a fatal fall from a tower he was working on, on Oct. 31 at the superstation known as The Farm.

Bittner’s son-in-law Paul Husby W0UC said the farm was a beloved project that just grew to be an entity that – like its creator himself – was well-known in ham radio for the way it grew and reached out to offer seemingly boundless possibilities.

PAUL HUSBY: The farm evolved in a rather strange way, it doesn't have a great
master plan. Perhaps it’s not the most well-designed place because it just sort of
evolved as towers and equipment became available.

KENT: A regular operator at the farm is Allan Schlaugat N9ISN

ALLAN SCHLAUGAT: We can never say it was finished, he was always climbing the
towers and improving things, adding antennas, changing antennas, always trying to improve

HUSBY: Started building towers in 1982. All the towers out there are
things that Paul scrounged over the years. He'd take down towers for whenever he had the opportunity to get his hands on something. He would collect towers for the cost of what it takes them down.

KENT: Schlaugat once asked Paul how many antennas are at the farm.

SCHLAUGAT: Do you actually know how many towers are there? And he goes, “Oh I don't know, I think maybe 45 towers and 25 poles but I lost count about ten years ago.” If there was something he would throw another tower up and put another antenna up. Over the years he just lost count so the ballpark we say 45 and 25 and we'll call it good.

KENT: Schlaugat says the loss of Bittner is great.

SCHLAUGAT: He left a hole in the entire ham radio community. We're talking all across the country or all across the world. Be it contesting, DX and socially. It’s very very tough.

HUSBY: His family has always been very interested in his activities all these years. They don't really understand what the radio is all about but they know he got an awful lot of fun out of it and everyone is glad he died working on something he really loved.

KENT: Paul Bittner W0AIH is survived by his wife Mary WB0PXM four daughters, six grandchildren – and all those who worked or visited the farm or perhaps just admired it from afar.


STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Amateur radio operators don't do what they do simply for the recognition but when it does come, it's welcome validation. Jack Parker W8ISH tells us about some hams enjoying the spotlight.

JACK: When the Radio Club of America gathers for its 2018 Technical Symposium and Awards Banquet on November 17th in Manhattan, its keynote speaker Ted Rappaport N9NB will also be among those receiving honors. Ted is being given the Armstrong Medal in recognition of lasting contributions to wireless communications and the radio arts. A professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and computer science at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Ted is considered a pioneer in 5G networks, wireless systems simulation and RF propagation. He will share the evening’s honors with a number of fellow amateurs: The Lee de Forest Award is being given to Nathan ‘Chip’ Cohen, W1YW; the Fred M. Link Award to Joseph Yurman, N2PFO; the Edgar F. Johnson Pioneer Citation to Mark Allen, W6PC, and the RCA Presidents Award to Carroll Hollingsworth, K5CTT.
New Fellows have been named to the RCA as well this year – they include Steven Ahmed, K2MOT; Martha Carter, N4GJA and Charles Kirmuss, W0CBK.


STEPHEN/ANCHOR: In India, recognition is coming posthumously for one Silent Key who authored a book about India's space program. That book was published this year, as we hear from Jeremy Boot G4NJH.

JEREMY: Electronics engineer Ved Prakash Sandlas VU2VP never lived to see the publication of his book “The Leapfroggers: An Insider’s Account of ISRO.”
Ved became a Silent Key on 6th July 2017 and the book was published just months ago. It tells the story of how the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) developed its launch vehicles from scratch. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Ved became a licensed ham radio operator whilst he was an undergraduate studying for his physics degree.
According to the Daily Pioneer newspaper’s Sunday magazine of  28th October, his radio hobby later became invaluable to his work at the space agency when he was given the responsibility of developing a communication system for the Indian space programme’s Satellite Launch Vehicle.
The posthumous publication recently received a positive review by the Daily Pioneer crediting Ved with helping to build the success of India’s launch vehicle, which formed the pioneer mission of the programme.
It quotes a passage from the ham radio operator’s book which says [quote] “It was SLV-3 that lifted India to space.” [endquote]


STEPHEN/ANCHOR: The amateur radio operator who becacme the first South American in space is preparing to advance to a government post when Brazil's new president takes office. Robert Broomhead VK3DN has those details.

ROBERT: In 2006, when amateur radio operator Marcos Pontes PY0AEB launched in Kazakhstan for the International Space Station, he became the first South American in space. Now the Brazilian Air Force lieutenant colonel is poised to become that nation’s science and technology minister. He was confirmed for the post on October 31st by Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who will take office on January 1st.
Marcos had been chosen as a mission specialist with NASA and arrived in August of 1998 at the Johnson Space Center, where he trained as an astronaut. He is still assigned technical duties at the space center and remains on standby for any space flights from Brazil. But for now, he has work to do in the administration of Brazil’s next president.
One day after his confirmation he told a group of science and robotics students: [quote] “A dream can take you anywhere, even off the planet.”

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: The FCC is retiring its present version of the Commission Registration System, also known as CORES. As of March 1 of next year, anyone applying for an FCC Federal Registration Number, or FRN, must first create a username and password on the system before they can receive the FRN itself. That's already the case - but on the new CORES website – anyone who already has an FRN from the old Commission Registration System will need to create a user name to continue managing it under the new system. You can find the website using the URL included the text version of this report. 
This is especially important for Volunteer Examiners while administering amateur radio license exams. FRNs are used in place of Social Security numbers. Hams who do not have Social Security Numbers must instead use their Taxpayer Identification Number to get an FRN. An FRN is required for everyone using this system.
All hams who are already licensed and wishing to conduct business with the FCC, such as renewing their license or changing their address, also need to be registered properly through the new Commission Registration System so they have access to the online Universal Licensing System. It should also be noted that individuals with a new FRN will be able to log into the FCC’s Universal Licensing System and set their preferences from receiving electronic copies of your documents to getting them on paper by postal mail, if desired.


STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Good news travels fast, especially on a repeater that's a source of pride to hams who got it running and are now looking to get it networked. Neil Rapp WB9VPG revisits those hams in Montana.

NEIL: You may remember a few weeks ago, we shared a story about how some hard-working hams in the North Yellowstone Amateur Radio Club went where no repeater has gone before. They opened up a remote area of Yellowstone National Park that had no communications. They were able to acquire an abandoned phone company building about 8,000 feet up a mountain. A number of individuals and other clubs from surrounding areas pitched in their time, talent, and resources to make this repeater possible, and created a system to break the silence. Jim Halfpenny, K9YNP, tells us what's happening now.
JIM: Right now we are mapping the coverage of where this repeater is allowing us to transmit to. We've got isolated hams that have no phone, no radio... and suddenly the repeater is up and talking into narrow valleys. We've opened it up wide open. So we're mapping coverage, and more coverage mapping is still needed.
NEIL: Now that the repeater is in place, the next step will be to extend the coverage by linking through the Montana Repeater Link Association, or MRLA.
JIM: We are working with folks, volunteers, and knowledgeable folks on the MRLA system to extend that coverage south into Gardiner, Montana; Northgate of Yellowstone; and Yellowstone Park. That's our next reallly big plan, but because of all the snow is going to have to wait until next summer before we can actually accomplish setting up that linkage.
NEIL: But for now, a large area around Gardiner, Montana appreciates their efforts.
JIM: During this winter season we are going to have much better coverage than we had before. The repeater got started about September 10th. The northern Yellowstone ecosystem will have better communications also. The new repeater, hopefully in the future, will be a boon to emergency services.
NEIL: The North Yellowstone group offers an invitation to hams in the area.
JIM: Local hams and visitors to Yellowstone National Park can now talk on the repeater on 146.98 MHz with a negative offset and a tone of 100 Hz. So we welcome everybody to join in when they come through the park or are near the park. We'd really appreciate their participation.


STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Indian officials have updated the country's frequency plan and that's encouraging news for hams there, as Graham Kemp VK4BB tells us.

GRAHAM: Still trying for that elusive QSO with India? Amateurs there now have access to three new bands – 60 metres, 630 metres and 2300 metres. The nation’s telecommunications regulator, the Ministry of Communications, has updated the Indian National Frequency plan and added 5 MHz, 472kHz and 135kHz to the list of available bands where hams can try to catch a contact. The band plan became effective on the 25th of October.
It should be noted for all three frequencies, amateurs carry status of secondary users. They are limited to 1 watt EIRP on 630 and 2300 metres and 15 watts EIRP when using 60 metres. According to a report in Southgate Amateur Radio News, the new bands comply with current criteria set by the International Telecommunications Union.


In the World of DX, you have a little more time to contact Andy OE7AJH operating from Madagascar along with Thomas OE7KUT. Andy is using the call sign 5R8UP until November 13th, working holiday style on 40 through 10 meters and possibly 80 meters. He will be using both CW and SSB. QSL via OE7AJH.

Be listening for Take (Tah-KAY)JG8NQJ on  Minami Torishima starting around the 15th of November. He expects to be there for three months, operating CW and some RTTY as JG8NQJ/JD1. QSL via JA8CJY (direct) or JG8NQJ (bureau).

Be listening for John, W2GD operating as P40W from Aruba from the 19th to the 27th of November. Although he will mainly be participating in the CQ WW DX CW Contest, he will also be on the air outside the contest operating SSB and CW on 160-10 metres. QSL via LoTW  or direct only to  N2MM.

Listen for Nobu JA0JHQ operating as T88PB  from  Koror,  Palau between the 23rd and 26th of November. He will be most active during  the  CQ WW DX CW Contest.  QSL via  LoTW, which is preferred, or send direct to JA0JHQ.


STEPHEN/ANCHOR: We all know that getting on the air without a license isn't legal. As Andy Morrison K9AWM tells us in this week's final story, that's true even for the local traffic cops.

ANDY: Hams are not the only ones who can get in trouble for not having an appropriate and valid FCC license. Take the case of the Buckeye Lake Police Department in Ohio. Village officers have been writing speeding tickets, as police are known to do, for any motorists driving in excess of the 35 mph village limit - but apparently every ticket that’s been handed out since 2013 has been unlawful, according to Buckeye Lake Police Chief Vicki Wardlow. According to an Associated Press story quoting the local Newark Advocate newspaper, the chief told the village council members at a meeting in October that the department’s license with the FCC expired in 2013, which means the radar guns used to measure the speed of motorists whizzing by cannot be calibrated for use.
No one applied to renew the license so the tickets issued in the past five years simply aren’t valid, she said. She told the council that the law requires the department to have that license in order to operate both its radar units and its radios. That means the department can’t write valid tickets, at least for now.
A new license could cost anywhere from $840 if she files the application herself, or a total of $1,400 if the village outsources the process and would not expire for another 10 years. It was unclear what penalty if any would be assessed for the department’s 5 years of unlicensed operation.
The Village’s clerk treasurer Rochelle Menningen said the police department’s budget has the funds to cover the cost of a new license and so, presumably, it will apply as quickly as possible for its FCC license – but of course, at a speed within the legal limit.

FRIDAY EDITION: I had an enjoyable lunch yesterday up at HRO with a few hams, goggled all the new gear and prices, and left without buying anything....The only embarrassment occurred at the restaurant, Joe placed his gum under his dinner plate and when the waiter came to remove the plates he had quite a time getting the plate off the table....who the hell saves their gum under the dinner plate?....

Lunch at HRO yesterday with Ari, Joe, and Mike making careful menu selections...

Florida Air Show Gives Ham Radio Some On-the-Air Exposure

The Everglades Amateur Radio Club (W4SVI) put ham radio in the spotlight during the 2018 Wings Over Homestead Air and Space Show, held in Homestead, Florida, November 2 – 4

“We were given space on the tarmac in the STEM section which was intended in getting kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said Robert Cruz, KE4MCL. “We were allowed to bring two of our field station vehicles right up to the tent and set up their free-standing masts.”

The club fielded operating positions on HF through UHF, slow-scan TV, and satellites for special event station W4H. “All three stations were active during the event. Since we set up early on Friday, we operated fully off solar power that day as the onsite generator was not to be fired up until the weekend,” Cruz explained. He said arriving on Friday offered an additional benefit. “The setup crew got to see most of the air show, plus some cool behind the scenes stuff, minus about 100,000 people,” he quipped.

“Since this was a military airshow, I brought along a Collins R-388 and a BC-348 just for show and tell,” Cruz recounted. “We had a few veterans come around and talk to us about how they used to operate one of these while [in the service].”

Cruz said a highlight of the weekend was a contact by Steve Taylor, W1HQL, with a crew member of the International Space Station. “The ISS had a scheduled school contact, and once they got out of range of the school, Steve called on a whim and the ISS responded for a quick QSO,” Cruz said.

He said the club, which is headquartered in Homestead, tried something a little different at this year’s air show. “Traditionally, Amateur Radio displays are filled with call signs and terminology that the general public doesn't understand,” he said. “To a non-ham, a call sign looks like a license plate number, for example. We created a new banner targeted at those interested in preparedness and made sure it had plain English and not ‘hamspeak’ on it.”

The club also created a half-page handout with the club’s information and meeting time on it for visitors to take home instead of relying on having to look things up online. “We shall see if the new banner and handouts paid off at the next club meeting,” Cruz said.

Other operators taking part included Alain Arocha, K4KKC; Esther Cruz KI4OTX; Steve Taylor, W1HQL; John Kolansinski, KK4QKL; Logan Brauer, W0LAB; Frank De Cespedes, AK4FU; Luis Pinon, KI4VEY; Ivan Cholakov, NO2CW, and Tommy Cholakov, N1SPY— Thanks to Robert Cruz, KE4MCL

Foundations of Amateur Radio #179

The Golden Age of Amateur Radio is Now

Imagine a world where electronics are pervasive, a transceiver can be purchased for the price of two Big Macs, kits are designed and built using simple tools at home, software makes it possible to invent new methods of communication on an almost daily basis, where long distance contacts are made throughout the day using milliwatts while ionospheric propagation is at an all-time low, where national parks and peaks are being activated at an increasing rate, where new people join in every day, where it's easier and easier to obtain a license and where the word geek is held as a badge of honour.

That world is here, it's now and when Rex, KE6MT writes that we're in the midst of a golden age of amateur radio, he hits the nail on the head, or should that be fist on the key?

It's easy to notice that amateur radio is difficult, that it's big, that it's messy, that it's full of know-it-alls, but it's hard to remember that it's fun, that it's rewarding and that every day more and more people join in and enjoy this hobby. The ideals of investigation and exploration are alive and well and the urge to participate in activities, just to get out of the house and see some daylight is strong.

While you're in the midst of a revolution, it's hard to see the wood for the trees, but make no mistake, the revolution is here, today, now, and you're smack bang in the middle of it.

Today you can go online and find any number of different amateurs who share their skills and knowledge, you can find manufacturers and suppliers at the tap of a screen, find and draw schematics, order custom circuit boards at the click of a check-out button, print an enclosure in your bedroom using plans that you downloaded or designed minutes before.

With the digitisation of amateur radio comes the promise of new adventures, with adaptive modes, with encoding and decoding in new and interesting ways, with the ability to hear what your station is producing by logging into a remote receiver anywhere on the planet, by sending messages to satellites overhead and talking to people in another country using a hand-held VHF radio.

For some the loss of the valve radio is the loss of history, for others it's a sign of progress and improvement. The inventors of spark-gap transmitters were no doubt put out by the arrival of the valve when that became commonplace. Similarly, the transistor has essentially gone the way of the Dodo in the arrival of cheaply programmable integrated circuits.

Our hobby keeps getting bigger, all the time.

We didn't abandon valves or transistors, or the spark-gap for that matter, we improved on them. You can still build a spark-gap transmitter if you feel the urge, or ferret out a valve or two and build them into something wonderful, nobody is stopping you.

Today we learn Morse Code because we want to, not because we have to.

We introduce new people with new technology, new ideas, new innovations and hope that they pick up the cape to become the next superhero.

You can bemoan the death of the hobby with the solar cycle at an all time low, the entry of stupid amateurs who need to learn from their betters, the passing of the valve and the abolition of Morse Code requirements, or you can celebrate the appearance of all the new and shiny toys that arrive in our hobby every day.

The Golden Age of Amateur Radio is Now.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB

To listen to the podcast, visit the website: http://podcasts.vk6flab.com/. You can also use your podcast tool of choice and search for my callsign, VK6FLAB. Full instructions on how to listen are here: https://podcasts.vk6flab.com/about/help

THURSDAY EDITION: HRO for Lunch Bunch in Salem, NH at noon today, always a good time....Another mass shooting in CA, what the hell is the answer?....

Laser technology could be used to attract attention from aliens....careful for what you wish!

 Pointing a special laser from Earth could act as a beacon light to aliens in space, a recent study said.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, published in Astrophysical Journal, proposes the idea of focusing a high-powered 1- to 2-megawatt laser through a large 30- to 45-meter telescope in order to produce an infrared beam that could shine into space.

That beam, said lead researcher James Clark, would be at least 10 times stronger than the sun, making it powerful enough to shine through the sun's energy.

"I wanted to see if I could take the kinds of telescopes and lasers that we're building today, and make a detectable beacon out of them," Clark said in a press release.

lark said the megawatt laser could send Morse code signals to alien astronomers living in systems closest to the Earth such as Proxima Centauri or TRAPPIST-1, a star 40 light years away with three potentially habitable exoplanets.

"If we were to successfully close a handshake and start to communicate, we could flash a message, at a data rate of about a few hundred bits per second, which would get there in just a few years," Clark said.

He wants his laser to lead to more infrared imaging technology development, making it possible to communicate with aliens on other planets, or to spot gases in a far off planet's atmospheres that could indicate signs of life.

"It is vanishingly unlikely that a telescope survey would actually observe an extraterrestrial laser, unless we restrict our survey to the very nearest stars," Clark said.

"With current survey methods and instruments, it is unlikely that we would actually be lucky enough to image a beacon flash, assuming that extraterrestrials exist and are making them," Clark said. "However, as the infrared spectra of exoplanets are studied for traces of gases that indicate the viability of life, and as full-sky surveys attain greater coverage and become more rapid, we can be more certain that, if E.T. is phoning, we will detect it."

Did an alien light sail just visit the solar system?

It sounds like a tabloid headline, but in this case it could be real.

Mainstream researchers from the Harvard Center for Astrophysics have made the case in a newly-released paper that interstellar asteroid 'Oumuamua could be an alien light sail.

Visit today's edition of Spaceweather.com for the full story

Delcastle Technical School in Wilmington, Delaware US use G0KSC LFA Yagi to contact ISS

On 24 th October, Delcastle Technical Scholl in Wilmington, Delaware USA, used a G0KSC LFA Yagi to make contact with the ISS. The pair of 7el 144-146MHz LFA Yagis were built by students at the Hodgson Vocational Technical School in Newark, Delaware, a sister school of Delcastle Tech.

When tasked with a project to build a Yagi to use for the contact, Students found the www.g0ksc.co.uk website on-line which has a selection of free-to-build Yagis designed by renowned antenna designer Justin Johnson, G0KSC.

The contact and all questions can be seen/heard on the link below:

G0KSC Free designs website

G0KSC latest designs commercially available

New Book, Power Supplies Explained, Now Shipping

Radio amateurs often take a power supply for granted. After all, it’s just the box that, at the flick of a switch, provides stable dc voltage. A modern power supply is much more though, combining theory that dates back to the 19th century, incorporating the latest techniques in digital control, and taking advantage of a wealth of electronics practice in between. Power Supplies Explained sets out to explain in understandable terms what that box is doing, and it can also explain how you can design your own custom-built power supply.

Some believe there is a little magic in power supply design. Beginners may be especially wary of the challenging mixture of digital, analog, magnetics, and control loops, with cooling, EMC, and safety to contend with as well. While many books deal with in-depth theory, they often give little guidance on the practical aspects of achieving working designs. Power Supplies Explained is different. It describes how circuits are chosen for the application and how they’re designed, including inductors and transformers. Calculations are outlined simply, so the reader can use them as a basis for their own designs.

Chapters include descriptions of linear supplies and a wide range of switching-mode power supply types, from simple buck converters to the latest off-line high-efficiency types. Practical examples are based around typical Amateur Radio requirements, and, in many cases, are versions of commercial products the author has successfully designed. Other chapters cover magnetic theory, control loops, EMC, practical construction techniques, and test equipment. High-voltage power supplies are covered too, along with comprehensive guidance on safety.

Power Supplies Explained, published by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and imported by ARRL, is available from the ARRL Store (ARRL Item no. 5010, ISBN: 978-1-91019-364-8, $24.95 retail). Call 860-594-0355 or, toll-free in the US, 888-277-5289.

WEDNESDAY EDITION: Voting done, ballots counted, and the balance of power has shifted, and it's my guess nothing will change for the next two years except for the rhetoric...I was going to write a little report on my new OPENspot 2, my first venture into dmr radio......however it was a short experience. The little beauty was up and running in about 15 minutes, thanks to YouTube. I made about 30 contacts using my FT2D handheld all over the US and a few in England, neat! Then I did the unthinkable, I noticed a box that said upgrade the firmware and bootlegger, and yes, I clicked on the appropriate buttons. I now own a $250 dollar white brick, it no longer responds, no blinking lights, no nothing. I contacted the outfit in Russia, surpassingly I got an immediate response and walk thru of possible things to try. All a no-go. To my surprise, I was told they would send me a new one as soon as DHL picks it up, they asked for my name and address and I am awaiting an email from DHL.....

India Gains Three New Bands, Sweden Gets Permanent 60-Meter Access

Radio amateurs in India now have access to three new bands. India’s Ministry of Communications’ Department of Telecommunications has published an updated National Frequency Allocation Plan, effective October 25, which lists the new bands at 5 MHz (60 meters), 472 kHz (630 meters), and 136 kHz (2300 meters). All allocations are on a secondary basis.

On 60 meters, hams now have access to 5,351.5 – 5,366.5 kHz at 15 W EIRP; on 630 meters, 472 – 479 kHz at 1 W EIRP, and on 2300 meters, 135.7 – 137.8 kHz at 1 W EIRP.

Sweden’s IARU member-society SSA reports that radio amateurs there gained routine secondary access to 5,351.5 – 5,366.5 kHz at 15 W EIRP on November 1. Temporary permission has been available since 2016, by application. SSA recommends following IARU Region 1 guidelines for using the band; a Swedish version is available. — Thanks to Paul Gaskell, G4MWO, Editor, The 5 MHz Newsletter; SSA

Ham radio operators to conduct major emergency test

On Thursday, the Oregon Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) will conduct a challenging Simulated Emergency Test (SET).

Thursday’s test is unique, as this is the first time "ham" radio operators have done a SET in Deschutes County with a large geographic spread of the stations, from Sisters-Camp Sherman on down to La Pine.

Ham radio groups involved in emergency communications are encouraged to participate in these events so the radio operators become familiar with all of the procedures used to assist government agencies during disasters. These drills also ensure all of the radio stations and computer networks provided by the hams are fully functional.

Locally, the Deschutes County Amateur Radio Emergency Service/Auxcomm (DCARES/AUXCOMM) conducts several of these tests every year in addition to providing communications for major public events where no other form of communication is available.

Read the full NewsChannel 21 article:

European-built service module arrives in U.S. for first Orion moon mission

The powerhouse that will help NASA’s Orion spacecraft venture beyond the Moon is stateside. The European-built service module that will propel, power and cool during Orion flight to the Moon on Exploration Mission-1 arrived from Germany at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday to begin final outfitting, integration and testing with the crew module and other Orion elements.

The service module is integral to human missions to the Moon and Mars. After Orion launches on top of the agency’s Space Launch System rocket, the service module will be responsible for in-space maneuvering throughout the mission, including course corrections. The service module will also provide the powerful burns to insert Orion into lunar orbit and again to get out of lunar orbit and return to Earth. It is provided by ESA (European Space Agency) and built by ESA’s prime contractor Airbus of Bremen, Germany. NASA’s prime contractor for Orion, Lockheed Martin, built the crew module and other elements of the spacecraft. 

“We have a strong foundation of cooperation with ESA through the International Space Station partnership, and the arrival of the service module signifies that our international collaboration extends to our deep space human exploration efforts as well,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations.

The European-built service module brings together new technology and lightweight materials while taking advantage of spaceflight-proven hardware. It is comprised of more than 20,000 components, including four solar array wings that provide enough electricity to power two three-bedroom homes, as well as an orbital maneuvering system engine, a recently refurbished engine previously used for in-orbit control by the space shuttle. Beginning with Exploration Mission-2, the module also will provide air and water for astronauts flying inside Orion, which will carry people to destinations farther than anyone has travelled before and return them safely to Earth.

“Our teams have worked together incredibly hard to develop a service module that will make missions to the Moon and beyond a reality,” said Mark Kirasich, NASA’s Orion program manager. “It is quite an accomplishment of ESA and Airbus to have completed the developmental work on the module and have this major delivery milestone behind us.”

Now that the service module is at Kennedy, it will undergo a host of tests and integration work ahead of Exploration Mission-1. Engineers will complete functional checkouts to ensure all elements are working properly before it is connected to the Orion crew module. Teams will weld together fluid lines to route gases and fuel and make electrical wiring connections. The service module and crew module will be mated, and the combined spacecraft will be sent to NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio early next year where it will undergo 60 days of continuous testing in the world’s largest thermal vacuum chamber to ensure Orion can withstand the harsh environment of deep space. Once that testing is complete, it will return to Kennedy for integration with the SLS rocket in preparation for launch. 

NASA is leading the next steps to establish a permanent human presence at the Moon. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Exploration Mission-1 is a flight test of an uncrewed Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket that will launch from NASA’s modernized spaceport at Kennedy. The mission will send Orion 40,000 miles beyond the Moon and back and pave the road for future missions with astronauts. Together, NASA and its partners will build the infrastructure needed to explore the Moon for decades to come while laying the groundwork for future missions to Mars.

For more information about Orion, visit:

FCC Accepting Applications for its Engineering Honors Program

The FCC is accepting applications from graduate engineers for its 1-year career development Engineering Honors Program, launched this past spring. The deadline to apply is November 30, 2018. The program is open to recent engineering school graduates and current students who will graduate this academic year. Current students who will graduate in December will be considered and are encouraged to apply. At the end of the 1-year program, Honors Program engineers will be eligible for consideration for continued employment at the FCC.

“With the successful launch of the Honors Engineer Program earlier this year, we are now looking to hire a new group of top-notch engineers,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “This will maintain our commitment to replenishing and strengthening our engineering expertise here at the Commission.”

The FCC said it is looking for new engineering talent “to work on cutting-edge issues in the communications and high-tech arenas.” These include enabling the introduction of new technologies and services such as 5G, the Internet of Things, next-generation TV broadcasting, broadband satellite systems, and broadband deployment.

“Selection for the Honors Engineer Program is highly competitive, and the FCC will review many facets of a candidate’s background, including academic achievement, technical skills, engineering and extracurricular activities, and demonstrated interest in government service and/or the communications sector,” the FCC said in announcing the application window.

Interested candidates should review the recruitment announcement and apply online. 

Special Call Signs Commemorate Centenary of World War I Armistice

Several countries around the world have authorized the use of special call signs or prefixes to mark the centenary of the armistice that marked the end of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I. The initial armistice took effect on November 11, 1918, at 11 AM (the Treaty of Versailles that officially ended World War I was not signed until the following year). Formerly known as Armistice Day in the US and in other countries, November 11 later became recognized as Veterans Day in the US, and as Remembrance Day in others, as a day to honor veterans of the armed services from all wars and conflicts.

While not a special prefix, WW1USA — the call sign of the National World War I Museum Amateur Radio Club — was on the air from the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, over the November 3 – 4 weekend. Other allied countries that took part in World War I will host special event Amateur Radio stations or call signs to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice.

In the UK, special event station GB100ARM will be on the air until November 28, operated by the HMS Belfast Radio Group. Operation will take place from the bridge wireless office aboard HMS Belfast.

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) has secured special event call signs for use across all Australian states and territories to commemorate the signing of the Armistice. These will take the form VI#PEACE and VI#LWF, depending upon Australian call district — 1 through 0. Listen, too, for VI100PEACE and VI9PEACE from Christmas Island. These call signs will be available for use between November 3 and November 11.

In Belgium, radio amateurs may use the OP prefix instead of ON during November as part of the 100th anniversary. The “P” stands for “poppies.” The association between poppies and Armistice Day (and, later, Veterans Day and Remembrance Day) was inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, which refers to poppies as the first flowers to grow in the earth above soldiers’ graves in the Flanders region of Belgium. Veterans groups in some countries hand out paper poppies in conjunction with Veterans Day/Remembrance Day observances.

Additional stations include France’s TM5PAX, which is active on all bands and modes through November 11, and South Africa’s ZS100WWI, which is on the air for the entire month of November. 

VOTING TUESDAY EDITION: Obviously, Vote today if you haven't yet ... very lively on 3928 yesterday late afternoon, the Mud Duck was especially LOUD from the Cape Cod Canal, I believe he was running on a little too much "high test" fuel....Joe- JEK was a little hard on Mike-XW yesterday but we did get to the truth. Mike does not climb tree's for anyone....I think Warren is milking his hip surgery, he should be jogging by now....and who is this guy who ask everyone for his call sign?....possible there might be a lunch at HRO on Thursday, who is in?...

Amateur Radio Experimenters Group's balloon success

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group released a high altitude balloon carrying transmitters for APRS and SSTV, and a crossband FM repeater

The Murray Valley Standard newspaper reports:

The balloon was launched from Mount Barker High School at 10am and quickly floated high enough to take in views of Adelaide, the Fleurieu and Yorke peninsulas, and the curve of the Earth's atmosphere giving way to the blackness of space.

It reached a height of 36 kilometres and zig-zagged across the sky, carried by stratospheric winds, before bursting somewhere above Monteith and falling to earth in a paddock south of Wynarka.

Recovery teams followed signals from an APRS beacon to find the exact landing site of the transmitter, a white object about the size of a shoebox.

Group member Mark Jessop VK5QI said his team was able to follow its descent closely enough to watch it land from a kilometre away and, after obtaining permission from the property owner, go and pick it up.

He said the flight, the 50th conducted by the radio group under the name Project Horus, was just one kind of experiment amateur radio operators were interested in.

"Amateur radio is all about self-learning and experimentation," he said.

"It covers people who want to chat with people around the world, people launching balloons like myself, people who bounce signals off the moon ... there's all sorts of sub-groups."

Read the full story and watch the video at

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Go Patriots but we should all wonder if the glory days of the "Gronk" are behind us. .....It's going to be a wet week which won't make it a lot of fun removing the leaves here....

The Latest Episode of ARRL Audio News is Now Available!

Listen to the new episode of ARRL Audio News on your iOS or Android podcast app, or online at http://www.blubrry.com/arrlaudionews/. Audio News is also retransmitted on a number of FM repeaters. Click here and then scroll down to see the list.

Well known ham radio operator dies in fall from tower

The Reverend Paul Bittner, W0AIH, of Fall Creek, Wisconsin, died doing what he loved on October 31, when a tower-climbing mishap claimed his life at his well-known antenna farm. The ARRL Life Member and Maxim Society member was 84. A member of the CQ Contesting Hall of Fame and retired Lutheran pastor, Bittner was a well-known and respected figure within the Amateur Radio community and a prolific contester and DXer. “No one was more generous, loving, and encouraging to others than the Reverend Paul Bittner,” said Mike Lonneke, W4AAW, in a post to the Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC). “He called me last week to chat about what he and Mary were up to, like getting material together for their always long and hilarious Christmas newsletter. He also knocked me out with the latest of his funny experiences in his ‘Rent-a-Rev’ sideline.” Bittner officiated at the June 2 wedding of two well-known midwestern contesters.

Bittner was licensed in 1949 and held the same call sign ever since. He and his wife, Mary, WB0PXM, moved in 2000 to “The Farm,” a 120-acre spread in west-central Wisconsin. The first of the more than 50 towers began sprouting there before their arrival in 1982. As a ham, he enjoyed multi-multi contesting and DXing. His favorite band was 160 meters, and his favorite contest was the CQ World Wide DX CW Contest. Bittner’s son-in-law — Paul Husby, W0UC — operated VHF contests from The Farm and was a multi-multi regular as well.“His station stands as a great monument to a selfless man of great grace and remarkable achievements,” Lonneke said. “Paul once told me that AIH stands for ‘already in heaven.’”

Contester and former ARRL staffer Dave Patton, NN1N, described Bittner as “such a good man and truly great ham.” W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, noted that Bittner had volunteered to operate as W1AW/9 as a headquarters station in the 2019 IARU HF Championship to celebrate his decades in ham radio.

NCJ Editor Scott Wright, K0MD, said that Bittner helped to build stations for many midwestern hams. “He was a mentor to hundreds of hams, and his enthusiasm for contesting was infectious,” Wright said. Bittner had said he wanted to be buried with a bible, a telegraph key, and a climbing belt.

“Thank you for giving so much of yourself to me and the rest of the ham community,” said contester Scott Neader. “We will never forget you.”

Radiomen in the Vietnam War faced a 5-second life expectancy

At the height of the Vietnam War, up-and-coming commo guys who wanted to learn the art of radio operation would walk into a classroom and see a huge number five written on the chalkboard.

Inevitably, someone's curiosity would win out and they'd ask what the big number meant. The instructor would then calmly tell them, "that's your life expectancy, in seconds, in a firefight. So, listen up and you might learn something that'll keep you alive."

That number wasn't some outrageous scare tactic. During the Vietnam War, the odds were tremendously stacked against radio operations — and that 5-second life expectancy was, for some, a grim reality.

In all fairness, that number was on the more extreme side of estimates. The life expectancy of a radio operator in the Vietnam War ranged between five to six seconds all the way up to a slightly-more-optimistic thirty seconds, depending on your source. If you look at all of the things the radio operators were tasked with, it becomes abundantly clear why commo guys weren't expected to last long.

The first and most obvious tally in the "you're screwed" column was the overall weight of the gear radio operators were expected to carry into battle. The PRC-77 radio system weighed 13.5 lbs without batteries. Toss in batteries, some spare batteries, and the unsightly, large encryption device called the NESTOR and you're looking at carrying 54lbs on your back at all times. Now add your weapon system onto that and try to keep up as you fight alongside your unencumbered brethren. It took a lot of getting used to — but they managed.

If the weight wasn't problem enough, next comes the antennae. They weren't all too heavy, but they were extremely uncomfortable to use and would often give your position away to the enemy. The three-foot version was easier on the radio operator, but it wouldn't work in thick jungles. For that environment, the radio operator needed a ten-foot whip antenna to stick out of their back, which was a great way to draw unwanted attention.

The Viet Cong knew what it meant to take out a guy with a giant, ten-foot antenna sticking out of their back — you might as well have painted a bullseye on them. You take out the radio operator and you effectively avoid dealing with air support. Additionally, it was well known that a radio operator's place in the marching order was at the heels of the officer-in-charge — two high-priority targets in one spot.

And it wasn't just the bullets that radio operators had to watch out for. The large antenna also acted as a targeting point for mortars and other explosives. All they had to do was aim for the antenna and they could wipe out anyone near the radio operator. As terrible as it sounds, this meant that the radio operator would sometimes move in isolation, away from the rest of the squad.

It's unclear exactly how many radio operators lost their lives during the Vietnam War. While many radio operators were fulfilling their MOS, others just had a radio strapped to them in times of need. One thing is for certain, though: Being a radio operator back in the Vietnam War puts you among the most badass troops the military has to offer.

New England Hams you might run across 75 meters.........

K1TP- Jon....Editor of As The World Turns....
W1GEK- Big Mike....Nearfest Cook, big motor home, electronics software engineer ...
AA1SB- Neil...Living large traveling the country with his girlfriend...loves CW
N1YX- Igor....peddles quality Russian keys, software engineer
K1BGH...Art.....Restores cars and radio gear, nice fella...
N1XW.....Mike-easy going, Harley riding kind of guy!
K1JEK-Joe...Easy going, can be found at most ham flea market ...Cobra Antenna builder..
KA1GJU- Kriss- Tower climbing pilot who cooks on the side at Hosstrader's...
W1GWU-Bob....one of the Hosstrader's original organizers, 75 meter regular, Tech Wizard!!!
K1PV- Roger....75 meter regular, easy going guy...
W1XER...Scott....easy going guy, loves to split cordwood and hunt...
WS1D- Warren- "Windy" - Bullnet
KB1VX- Barry- the picture says it all, he loves food!
KC1BBU- Bob....the Mud Duck from the Cape Cod Canal, making a lot of noise.
W1STS- Scott...philosopher, hat
KB1JXU- Matthew...75 meter regular...our token liberal Democrat out of VT

KA1BXB-Don....75 meter Regular......residing on the Cape of Cod, flying planes and playing radio
KMIG-Rick....75 Meter Regular....teaches the future of mankind, it's scary!
K1PEK-Steve..Founder of Davis-RF....my best friend from high school 

K9AEN-John...Easy going ham found at all the ham fests
K1BXI- John.........Dr. Linux....fine amateur radio op ....wealth of experience...
K1BQT.....Rick....very talented ham, loves his politics, has designed gear for MFJ...
W1KQ- Jim-  Retired
Air Force Controller...told quite a few pilots where to go!
N1OOL-Jeff- The 3936 master plumber and ragchewer...
K1BRS-Bruce- Computer Tech of 3936...multi talented kidney stone passing ham...
K1BGH- Arthur, Cape Cod, construction company/ice cream shop, hard working man....
W1VAK- Ed, Cape Cod, lots of experience in all areas, once was a Jacques Cousteus body guard....
KD1ZY- Warren....3910 regular with WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE signal
N1YSU- Bob,  easy going, kind of like Mr. Rogers until politics are brought up then watch out...
K1BNH- Bill- Used to work for a bottled gas company-we think he has been around nitrous oxide to long .

Silent KeyVA2GJB- Graham...one of the good 14313 guys back in the day.
Silent Key K1BHV- David...PITA
Silent Key W1JSH- Mort...Air Force man
Silent Key K1MAN--Glen....PITA
Silent KeyKB1CJG-"Cobby"- Low key gent can be found on many of the 75 meter nets.........
Silent KeyWB1AAZ- Mike, Antrim, NH, auto parts truck driver-retired

Silent KeyWB1DVD- Gil....Gilly..Gilmore.....easy going, computer parts selling, New England Ham..
Silent Key W1OKQ- Jack....3936 Wheeling and Dealing......keeping the boys on there toes....
Silent Key W1TCS- Terry....75 meter regular, wealth of electronic knowledge...
Silent Key WIPNR- Mack....DXCC Master, worked them all!.. 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key
WILIM- Hu....SK at 92... 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key N1SIE- Dave....Loves to fly
Silent Key:
N1WBD- Big Bob- Tallest ham, at 6'10", of the 3864 group
Silent Key: W1FSK-Steve....Navy Pilot, HRO Salesman, has owned every radio ever built!
Silent Key: W4NTI-Vietnam Dan....far from easy going cw and ssb op on 14275/313
Silent Key:K1FUB-Bill- Loved ham radio....